Nurse Visitation for Adolescent Mothers: Two-Year Infant Health and Maternal Outcomes


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Abstract

BackgroundChildren of adolescent mothers have higher rates of morbidity and unintentional injuries and hospitalizations during the first 5 years of life than do children of adult mothers.ObjectiveThe purpose of this study was to evaluate the 2-year postbirth infant health and maternal outcomes of an early intervention program (EIP) of home visitation by public health nurses (PHNs).MethodsIn a randomized controlled trial, a sample of predominantly Latina and African American adolescent mothers was followed from pregnancy through 2 years postpartum. The experimental group (EIP, n = 56) received preparation-for-motherhood classes plus intense home visitation by PHNs from pregnancy through 1 year postbirth; the control group (TPHNC, n = 45) received traditional public health nursing care (TPHNC). Health outcomes were determined based on medical record data; other measures evaluated selected maternal behaviors, social competence, and mother-child interactions.ResultsThe total days of non-birth-related infant hospitalizations during the first 24 months was significantly lower in the EIP (143 days) than the TPHNC group (211 days) and episodes of hospitalization were fewer; more EIP than THHNC infants were never seen in the emergency room. The EIP mothers had 15% fewer repeat pregnancies in the first 2 years postbirth than TPHNC mothers. The TPHNC mothers significantly increased marijuana use over time, whereas EIP mothers did not.ConclusionsThe EIP improved in selected areas of infant and maternal health, and these improvements were sustained for a period of 1 year following program termination. These findings have important implications for healthcare services.

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